"For the mistakes of the past, Canadians need to hear and tell the truth. With the promise of reconciliation, Canadians need to end the inequities of the present."
In 2008, the Canadian government apologized to former students of Indian Residential Schools for the abuses that they endured and from which generations continue to suffer. In 2010, the first public event of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was held in Winnipeg, and after years of stalling, Canada quietly announced its endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Together, these moments should mark a turning point in the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada.
& Equity Video
Roll with the Declaration!
In June 2011, thousands of people from all walks of life created more than 300 banners stating their commitment to the UN Declaration. Joined together in one huge banner, they were carried through the streets of Ottawa as a country’s witness to its government: Make this endorsement real. Fix current inequities. Make the UN Declaration a road map to a better future.
Yet First Nations, Inuit and Métis people in Canada continue to face serious inequities, often borne by the most vulnerable.
First Nations schools on reserves receive at least $2,000 less per student than non-Indigenous schools. Only 41 per cent of students on reserves graduate, compared to 77 per cent in the rest of Canada. First Nations children are 6 to 8 times more likely than others to be placed in foster care, due in part to insufficient child welfare funding on reserves.
These inequities contribute to terrifying suicide rates for young Indigenous people in Canada. The reality is that inequity can mean the difference between life and death.
Inequities related to children are only some of the gaps impacting Indigenous peoples in Canada. Others include housing, water, health, and income. These current inequities are as much a national shame as are the injustices of the past.
Join KAIROS as we work towards equity for Indigenous people in Canada. All of us share in the responsibility for making this an equitable country. For the mistakes of the past, Canadians need to hear and tell the truth. With the promise of reconciliation, Canadians need to end the inequities of the present. The integrity of Canada is at stake—it matters to all of us. This is the KAIROS campaign for 2011–12.
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